Emily Bernet 18 ~ Charles Santos Scholarship
Movement is a language. In its simplest form it is an act of changing physical location. It is a human necessity and serves millions of practical purposes. Through movement we can express ideas and feelings that are impossible to encompass with any spoken language. Like any medium of art, the way in which we transfer energy and displace our bodies is an unending exploration. Movement echoes our feelings. It is made up of molecular impulses that begin at an invisible level; the outward manifestation of an inward desire. The manipulation of this simple and entirely complex act is one of
the main reasons I love being a dancer. At seventeen, soon to be eighteen, I have been studying the art of dance for almost fifteen years. Everything and everyone I have come into contact with has had an influence on the way I train, perform, and think. I am an avid choreographer and am fascinated by all of the work, methods, and creativity that I have yet to discover. I am applying to the dance council scholarships with the hopes of being able to attend the Movement Invention Project in New York this summer.
As an imaginative three-year-old, I took my first dance classes with Janie Christy, pirouetting around the room as everything from a butterfly to a princess. After moving to Plano, I started training at Dance Industry Performing Arts Center. For eleven years I trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, and hip-hop. It was my experiences there that lead me to attend Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Now a senior at Booker T. Washington, I train in ballet, modern, and dance composition, and have taken classes in kiniesiology, dance history, and world dance forms. As a member of the Repertory 1 Dance Ensemble I have performed works by Dwight Rhoden, Takehiro Ueyama, Larry Keiwgin, and Andy Noble. I have also had the opportunity to learn from many master teachers and choreographers, some of which include Robert Battle, Benoit-Swan Pouffer, Nina Goldman, and Bruce Woods. Last summer I trained at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance under the direction of Summer Lee-Rhatigan. There I not only trained in the technique of dance, but learned and discovered more about my individual style and the unending possibilities of dance. Taking gaga classes from Bobbi Smith, and learning and performing the repertory of Ohad Naharin, changed the way I see movement and continues to inspire me.
The Movement Invention Project is a three week summer intensive in New York City in which dancers work with teachers, choreographers, and mentors in classes and workshops that encourage risk-taking, creativity, and the development of improvisational skills. I have applied and been accepted for this summer! Program days include ballet, movement invention classes, improvisation workshops, and collaborative exploration of the creative process with working choreographers, some of which include Sidra Bell and Andrea Miller. The third week will include gaga classes and the exploration of Ohad Naharin’s repertory. I am so excited by the possibility of furthering my knowledge of Naharin’s work. His work continually inspires my creative process. The Movement Invention Project prepares students to work in collaboration with today’s choreographers, and I believe it will help me to grow as an artist, a dancer, and an individual. For my senior project, I choreographed a piece for which I was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2012 Young Arts competition. Although creating my first full-length piece was an anxious process, I have never enjoyed something so much. I was fascinated by the process and excited by watching the dancers’ interpretation of my work. I am already filled with ideas for my next pieces and constantly inspired to get working. Along with my love for performing, I have come to think of myself as a choreographer and simply love creating new movement. As I continue my training and prepare to attend college, I am anxious to see and experience as much as possible. I am fascinated by movement and the creative process, and believe this program is exactly what I need to continue my exploration of dance.
Next fall, I hope to be attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. I am excited by the prospect of taking in all of the new experiences the NYU dance department has to offer. I want to take risks and push boundaries in dance. I intend to spend the coming years learning all that I can about what is out there and what is not. I hope to find many chances to collaborate with other artists and share my work. I believe that movement is a universal language, through which we can express thoughts and feelings impossible to encompass in spoken words. I hope to be a part of the next
generation of creators, moving the art of dance to new and innovative places.
I would like to thank Charles Santos and the Dance Council of North Texas for giving me the wonderful opportunity to train at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance this summer. While in San Francisco I took classes in ballet, modern, and gaga from the conservatory’s incredible faculty including Summer Lee Rhatigan, Bobbi Smith, Alex Ketley, Malinda LaVelle, and Tristan Ching. In addition, I had the opportunity to explore Alex Ketley’s choreography and observe new work by Bobbi Smith. The conservatory provides an environment that is not only challenging and inspiring, but free of judgment and boundaries. In my short time there I learned so much. The faculty encourages many different views and constantly provides new information. I plan to apply the knowledge and inspiration I gained in San Francisco this fall in my first year at SMU. Thank you again for this valuable opportunity and experience.
~ Emily Bernet